Yet another lawsuit alleging over the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is going to court. According to a CBS News report, this one involves a California woman who is alleging that using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products over many years for feminine hygiene caused her ovarian cancer. Her lawsuit accuses Johnson & Johnson of negligent conduct in making and marketing its baby powder. So far, two lawsuits in St. Louis, Missouri, have ended in jury verdicts worth $127 million. A judge, who said there was no reliable evidence that the talc in powder products causes ovarian cancer, tossed two others out.
The Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer
While Johnson & Johnson says its powder products are perfectly safe, about 2,000 women have sued and lawyers are reviewing thousands of other potential cases. Talc is a naturally-occurring mineral that is made up of the elements, magnesium, silicon and oxygen. It is a soft mineral that can be crushed to a white powder. It has been widely used in cosmetics and other personal care products to absorb moisture and particularly in J & J’s popular Baby Powder since 1894. In its natural form talc can contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.
There are close to two dozen studies over three decades that have found a 20 to 40 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer among talc users. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, classifies genital use of talcum-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The American Cancer Society (ACS) says more research is needed on the topic.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits
A majority of the pending talcum powder cases are in California, Missouri and New Jersey, where Johnson & Johnson is based. In the trial involving Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California, her lawyers say she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 after years of talcum use. J & J and other manufacturers have been familiar with studies that linked talc to ovarian cancer as early as the 1980s, but they have thoroughly disregarded them and still continue to do so.
Not only have they not placed warning signs on their products discouraging use for feminine hygiene purposes, but also over the years the company has aggressively marketed these products to be used for feminine hygiene. We hope unsuspecting consumers who have suffered the consequences of these defective products get their day in court and that the negligent manufacturers are held accountable.